HC Deb 20 January 1931 vol 247 cc3-4
5. Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, seeing that the value of exports from Great Britain to foreign countries fell from £593,000,000 in 1919 to £405,000,000 in 1929, whereas exports to the Empire rose in the same period from £205,000,000 to £324,000,000, and that the British Dominions are our largest customers, he will say what steps the Government are prepared to take to further consolidate and increase the import and export trade between Great Britain and the Dominions overseas?

13. Mr. HANNON

asked the President of the Board of Trade details of the import and export of manufactured goods to and from the British Empire and foreign countries, respectively, for the year 1930; and if he is now prepared to make any further statement on the policy of the Government for the development of inter-Imperial trade?


The Economic Section of the Imperial Conference will reassemble in Ottawa to discuss this matter, and preparations for that Conference are being actively pursued by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. Particulars of the imports and exports of manufactured goods during 1930, distinguishing British Empire and foreign countries, will not be available until the latter part of the current year, when they will be published in the Annual Statement of Trade.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give any indication, in view of the magnitude and seriousness of these figures, that the Government are going to take any steps at all to remedy the present trade situation?


The Government are engaged in many steps which bear on the trade situation; and, while I do not make any promise, it may be that a statement regarding the preparations for Ottawa will be made at a later date.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what steps the Government are actually taking at the present time?


That would require a very long reply. I will mention the efforts for the reorganisation of industry in order to help recapture the export trade, the trade missions, and a wide variety of other steps. If, however, the hon. and gallant Member means tariffs or any activities of that kind, we can promise nothing of that description.


Is it not the case that the Government had ample opportunity before the last Imperial Conference, and are they likely to be any more prepared for this Conference?

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